The Power of Feasibility Analysis – 9 Levels of Due Diligence

By Paul DeVetter

Establishing the feasibility of a project is a critical step on the road to successful property development. Performing the necessary due diligence at the correct time is the key to effective risk management. The primary impacts in all property development, property planning and process management are scope, schedule and budget. Monitoring these three things and assessing where you are relative to each will allow you to advance from milestone to milestone with confidence. Below I have listed the nine levels of feasibility analysis required to ensure adequate risk management.


1 Programming and Needs Assessment

Enables property owner or developer to identify general business and operational needs which will be used as a baseline for planning physical building projects.

Identify general site and building key program needs.

Develop a space program to be used in conceptual building design. Initiate preliminary research of systems and strategies which support business and operational needs.

2 Conceptual Site Planning

Enables property owner or developer to assess investment risk based on how well the programmed site elements fit and function on the available site.

Provide conceptual site plan which delineates logical site element placement. The site plan factors in primary and secondary adjacency requirements as well as technical site limitations and restrictions. Typical site elements would be building structures, parking, access roads, service drives, wetlands, ponding, site amenities etc.

Provide conceptual site planning options for property owner or developer evaluation and review. Identify short term and long term physical planning strategies for operational growth and expansion which support the business growth projections.

3 Conceptual Building Planning

Enables property owner or developer to assess investment risk based on how well the programmed building elements function in a basic building configuration as it is located on the proposed site.

Provide conceptual building adjacency diagrams which factor in primary and secondary functional adjacencies for building components, departments and/or specific spaces.

Provide building plan options which incorporate all available conceptual planning criteria.

4 Zoning Analysis

Enables property owner or developer to assess investment risk based on how well the proposed site plan and building meet local planning and zoning requirements.

Complete Zoning Analysis Checklist which itemizes site and building zoning requirements for typical zoning categories such as zoning designation, permitted uses, parking, setbacks, building height restrictions, FAR, landscaping, etc.

Review city zoning map and zoning classification. Assess compliance of proposed site and building. Identify site easements and restrictions. Assess impact of easements and restrictions on proposed site plan and building plan. Review city Land Use Plan and assess compliance of proposed building and site configuration.

5 Building Code Analysis

Enables property owner or developer to assess investment risk based on impacts of current building codes and local amendments.

Complete Building Analysis Checklist which identifies general project information and itemizes general building code requirements for criteria such as acceptable building type, allowable areas and building heights, occupancy group classifications and occupancy loads, exiting, fire resistive rating, etc. Identify building permitting process requirements and projected durations.

Assemble necessary building permit applications such as Building Permit, Plumbing, Heating/Mechanical, Signage, Water, Sewer, Fire Suppression etc.

6 Energy and Environmental Analysis

Enables property owner or developer to consider different environmentally conscious planning strategies and assess impact on long term building costs.

Introduction to LEED and other measuring systems for environmentally conscious buildings. Introduce environmental building strategies and concepts such as green roofs, green wall systems, storm water systems, passive solar systems, etc.

Provide energy analysis of proposed new buildings and building additions.

7 Condition Assessment (Existing Properties)

Enables existing property owners to better manage their facilities and establish budgets for maintenance and repair.

Enables property investors to assess risk as it relates to existing property condition and to assign costs for repair and maintenance to be incorporated into investment proforma.

Non destructive exterior physical grounds assessment which identifies critical items, repair items, and general maintenance items as it pertains to parking, sidewalks, landscaping, site amenities, etc.

Non destructive building condition physical assessment which identifies critical items, repair items, and general maintenance items as it pertains to building envelope and enclosure.

Provide photographic survey of exterior and interior building. Provide structural building assessment which identifies the condition of the existing building structure and evaluates technical feasibility for proposed building expansions.

Provide mechanical systems assessment which looks at the age, condition and capacity of existing mechanical equipment and systems.

Provide electrical systems assessment which looks at the age, condition and capacity of existing services and systems.

Provide a Life Cycle Cost Analysis and Capital Expense Plan which itemizes existing building equipment and the projected replacement cycle for each.

8 Cost Estimating

Enables property owner or developer to evaluate investment risk as it is impacted by overall project cost and provides comprehensive figure for construction related costs to be incorporated into project financial analysis.

Provide a conceptual cost estimate which includes an itemized breakdown of anticipated costs including but not limited to general construction, furniture equipment and technology, surveys and testing, reimbursable expenses and contingencies. Also projected are primary and specialty design and consulting fees.

Provide budget projections which factor in all projected project costs and available funding sources.

9 Risk Management Scheduling

Enables property owner or developer to assess overall investment risk as it relates to project timing and requirement for project funding.

Prepare a detailed critical path schedule which takes a detailed look at the due diligence tasks, phases, and milestones required to complete the project.

The schedule is composed of milestone durations which are tied together with hypothetical dates that provide a synopsis of the process from site discovery to the end of construction.

The milestone schedule is structured in a manner to delineate levels of risk and provides natural process milestones to evaluate feasibility and assess capacity to proceed.

Make a Plan. Have a Plan. Lets make it happen!

Find out how by visiting DeVetter Planning Group at

About the Author

Paul DeVetter is a strategic property planning expert and innovator with hundreds of successful projects throughout the United States. Paul’s strategic planning business specializes in property development, property planning and process management.

Paul’s firm practices ahead of the curve in the way they use emerging technologies such as BIM(Building Information Modeling) for planning and project promotion. They are reinventing project delivery in a time when it is greatly needed. Paul’s risk management approach to property development, project process and corporate planning saves business owners time and money.

Paul has been redefining design and construction industry processes for more than 20 years with invaluable experience working with several design firms, large property development/property management companies like CSM Corporation, health care organizations, supply chain/transportation specialists like Transystems and retail companies like Target Corporation.

Make a Plan, Have a Plan. You’ll be glad you did!

If you would like to learn more about Paul, his innovative planning business and unique up front pricing, please visit DeVetter Planning Group at

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